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Zlatan Ibrahimovic facing three-match ban for retaliating with elbow on Tyrone Mings

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 04/03/2017 By James Ducker

Zlatan Ibrahimovic © Press Association Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic is facing the prospect of a retrospective three-match ban for violent conduct after the Manchester United striker elbowed Tyrone Mings during a fractious 1-1 draw against 10-man Bournemouth at Old Trafford that dealt a severe blow to their top-four hopes.

Ibrahimovic’s 44th-minute elbow on the Bournemouth defender was missed by referee Kevin Friend and his assistants but the Football Association are likely to take a dim view of the incident when they review the footage on Monday.

Mings could also receive a three-game suspension for violent conduct from the governing body for an apparent stamp on Ibrahimovic moments earlier that was also missed by Friend but seemed to serve as the trigger for the Swede’s retaliation.

Bournemouth had been reduced to 10 men on the cusp of half-time when their captain, Andrew Surman, who had already been booked, was shown a second yellow card after reacting angrily to Ibrahimovic’s elbow by shoving the United player to the ground. Josh King had earlier cancelled out Marcos Rojo’s opening goal when the former United striker scored a 40th-minute penalty after Phil Jones had brought down Marc Pugh.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic elbows Tyrone Mings © Telegraph Zlatan Ibrahimovic elbows Tyrone Mings Jamie Carragher, the Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool defender, branded Mings’s challenge, when he caught his opponent’s right ear with the full force of his studs, as a “disgraceful, cowardly stamp” and claimed he “deserved a smack” from Ibrahimovic. “You can see the TV and the images,” Ibrahimovic said. “In my situation, I jump up, I jump high, at the same time I protect myself and it’s unlucky he jumps into my elbow. On many occasions these things happen and I hope he didn’t get injured. What happens on the field stays on the field, I’m not a player who will talk afterwards or attack somebody.” 

But Mings insisted the contact was not deliberate. “Not at all, I would never do that,” he said. “Hard and fair is how I like to tackle but I don’t get involved in off the ball stuff.” Of the elbow incident, Mings said: “It was maybe an elbow, I didn’t see it but I felt it.” 

Mourinho and Wayne Rooney claimed Mings knew what he was doing. “If you ask me that I am happy if Tyrone Mings gets three or four or five matches ban, I really don’t care about it,” the United manager said.

“He knows what he did, he knows better than anyone what he did.” Rooney said: “I don’t think the referee saw him try and stamp on Zlatan’s head. It’s wrong and there’s no place for it in football. I am sure that will get looked at and punished.” 

Nonetheless, Ibrahimovic accepted the blame for two dropped points. “Of course when you don’t win the game with the opportunities we had but I take the blame, I should have scored, absolutely, I had a good chance with the penalty,” he said. “I give myself the fault.”

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